|Can you tell I'm excited?|
I was blown away, both literally and physically because that day we had wind gusts of 40 - 50 mph. I gave up on wearing my sun hat.
Our first full day of touring started early, as we headed out for Caesarea Maritima on the shores of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. This fortress was just one of the magnificent architectural marvels built by Herod the Great, the self-appointed ruler of Judea. He also rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem and its surrounding walls, and the amazing fortress at Masada on the Dead Sea.
You may remember Herod from the Bible. He was the evil ruler who commanded all male children under the age of two be killed after learning of his birth from the three Magi. Yes, he would have killed Yeshua, but ADONAI intervened. You can read the story in Matthew 2:1-22 and Luke 1:5.
Herod was a Jew, but turned his back on ADONAI and on his own people. He embraced the Roman empire in order to achieve his lofty goals, and taxed the Jews unmercifully to finance his lavish building projects. He named this city after his fellow Roman, Augustus Caesar.
|Ruins of the palace|
The first photo directly above is of the remains of Herod's palace. He built the huge harbor, and then built his palace far out into the sea. In the middle was a fresh water swimming pool. The second photo shows the aqueducts built to carry fresh water to the site. The water came from Mount Carmel, ten miles away. Beautiful mosaics covered the floor of the palace. Isn't it amazing that they are still intact after thousands of years?
Below is our tour group, sitting in the Roman-style amphitheater, which seated 3,500 people. No amps needed, even on the top row because the acoustics are incredible! The floor and stage are built of creamy white marble, with beautiful, intricate carvings and embellishments.
The photo above is from the horse and chariot arena on the site. Aren't these decorations gorgeous? Imagine what this place looked like when brand new. Quite the sight to see, don't you think?
We watched a very interesting movie presentation about this site, that showed how it might have looked two thousand years ago. Caesarea Maritima was a showplace in it's time, and a center of Roman culture and entertainment. I came away amazed by the abilities of the people to create such marvelous architecture without the modern-day tools we depend on.
Next stop is Mount Carmel. I hope you'll stop by next week.
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